is the evening prayer
service in the Roman Catholic
and Eastern Orthodox liturgies
of the canonical hours
. The word comes from Latin vesper
, meaning "evening."
The general structure of the Roman Catholic service of vespers is as follows:
- Vespers opens with the singing or chanting of the words, Deus in adiutorium meum intende; Domine ad adiuvandum me festina. (O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.)
- A hymn is then sung;
- Anywhere from two to four psalms are then sung, with the psalms concluding in a doxology and answered by an antiphon.
- After the psalms, there is a reading from the New Testament.
- Following the reading, the participants sing the Magnificat, the canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the Gospel of Luke I:46-55.
- Then a litany is recited, the Lord's Prayer, and a closing prayer.
The psalms and hymns of the Vespers service have attracted the interest of many composers, including Claudio Monteverdi
, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
, Anton Bruckner
, and Sergei Rachmaninoff
See also: Mass (music); requiem; sacred music; Book of Hours
The Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours